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“I will not defend criminal behavior, and I do not defend what we now know about the 2010 campaign,” Mr. Mendelson said. “But I also urge restraint in the seeking of another resignation until the U.S. Attorney actually asserts that the Mayor himself did something wrong.”

Mr. Gray rejected suggestions that he is unable to lead the city and continue his efforts to gain full voting rights in Congress for the District.

“I get up every morning and look in the mirror and see someone I respect,” Mr. Gray said.

A vigorous defense of his character notwithstanding, Mr. Gray reluctantly fell back on the boilerplate responses he has used to avoid questions about the ongoing probe.

“I would like to comment on all of this, to be honest with you,” Mr. Gray said. “This investigation is continuing. … Obviously, there is additional information that is unfolding. I think many of you will remember that more than a year ago I was the one who called for an investigation into my own campaign.”